|Enter into an ancient Chinese mythical world, dragons and demons included, welcome to Haw Par Villa (虎豹別墅). This unique theme park immortalise Chinese customs, values, folklore and legend. It is a colourful spectacle that aims to fascinate, delight and yet expose unsuspecting visitors to the bizarre. Perhaps the most notable edpiction is of the Ten Courts of Hell where the figures depict a chilling tale of death and rebirth.
The founders are Mr. Aw Boon Haw and Mr. Aw Boon Par. Haw Par Villa is Singapore's oldest favourite photo-taking spot since 1937. Aw Boon Haw built this villa site for his brother Aw Boon Par - and through their generosity, the garden since 1937 is a reflection of Aw Boon Haw's personal motto - "That which is derived from society should be returned to society."
The Aw brothers became so rich from their Tiger Balm business that the flamboyant Boon Haw built a unique mansion as a gift to his beloved younger brother, Boon Par. The magnificent doomed mansion was built at the highest point of a hill and had a superb sea view. A garden featuring many statues and images of Chinese myths and legends complemented it and became known as Tiger Balm Gardens. Unfortunately, the mansion (background) was demolished after World War II. However, the garden remains till today and has since been converted into a theme park called Haw Par Villa.
Even today, tiger and leopard statues are displayed throughout Haw Par Villa. The tiger depicts Boon Haw whose name literally means "Gentle Tiger" and stands for courage and bravery. The leopard is associated with Boon Par whose name literally means "Gentle Leopard" and symbolises strength and agility. If you look closely at these statues in Haw Par Villa, you will realise that the leopard is always positioned to the right of the tiger.
On the grounds of the garden in Haw Par Villa is a well-known pond called the Signature Pond. This pond forms the shape of the ancient calligraphic character for 'Aw'. The legacy of the Aw brothers lives on, not only in Haw Par Villa, but also in the little jar of Tiger Balm ointment that can be found in many households today.
There is no guided Tour here, however there are maps and story boards for most of the exhibits. You should take around 2 to 3 hours to complete.